How to Bead With a Herringbone Stitch

Written by jennie hennesay
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How to Bead With a Herringbone Stitch
Add style to a bead project by using a herringbone stitch. (Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Ndebele, also known as herringbone stitch, is thought to be named after an African tribe noted for the use of the stitch. Herringbone stitch can be worked flat or tubular. The flat herringbone is most often used for bracelets or amulet bags; the tubular stitch is used for necklaces and straps for beaded bags. You can work designs in herringbone by changing the colour or size of the beads.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Seed beads
  • Beading needle
  • Beading thread
  • Scissors

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  1. 1

    Thread a comfortable length of thread onto a needle. Pick up one seed bead and pass it to within 6 inches of the end of the thread. Pass the thread through it twice to hold it in place.

  2. 2

    Pick up four seed beads and slide them down to the stop bead. Arrange them so they form two stacks of two beads side by side with the holes facing up.

  3. 3

    Pass up through the first two beads and down through the next two beads.

  4. 4

    Pick up two beads and pass down through the last two beads from Step 3 and up through the two beads you just picked up. Settle the new stack of beads beside the existing stacks.

  5. 5

    Repeat the Step 4 until you have a bead ladder as long as you want the width of your beaded project to be. You must have an even number of beads in the row.

  6. 6

    Flip the ladder over so the thread comes out of the top. Pick up two beads. Skip the bead the thread was coming out of and pass down through the next bead and up through the third bead. Pick up two beads, skip one bead pass down through the next bead and up through the next bead. Repeat until there are only two stacks of beads in the ladder.

  7. 7

    Pick up two beads, pass down through the last bead in the previous row, up through the next bead in the previous row and up through the second bead you just picked up to get the thread in position to start the next row.

  8. 8

    Work as many rows as you need to produce the length you want.

  9. 9

    Weave the thread back through the beads as you did in the beginning ladder stitch to close the stacks and stabilise the end.

Tips and warnings

  • Remember you always work in twos.
  • Each set of two beads is called a stack.
  • Try working with larger beads like size 8 until you get familiar with the stitch.

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